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Since the new attack on Obama's pastor was unleashed last night, I have noticed that every diary started on the topic gets the diarist accused of concern trolling and while others insist that this is "no big deal". I think that is really just wishful thinking and this story will almost definitely become an issue. First of all, I think this whole thing is bullshit. You could show clips of any religious leader, spliced together out of context to show something sinister. But, rather than stick our heads in the sand, I wanted to create a thread to discuss strategies for combating this attack and discuss the issue constructively, and talk about what I have been doing.

My thoughts below the fold

First of all, if you have seen the clip of this segment on Good Morning America (I think it was) the Obama campaign does have a response. They had Shaun Casey who is a religious professor defending Obama's relationship to Wright and the Church. He said that Obama has repudiated the controversial comments and then pointed out that John Mccain's pastor and George Bush's crazy pastors aren't getting the same scrutiny.

I think that having someone from the campaign there to provide context for these kind of segments is key. What makes this story so potentially explosive is that it's so freaking easy to play a clip of something over and over again, while having your pundits discuss it, without the context offered by someone like Shaun Casey. I think that as long as they do give the Obama campaign a chance to respond, the story is not so bad.

I do think that Obama HIMSELF should respond, and I imagine that they know that. This is what I wrote and send to the Obama campaign last night (as a possible response):

"Rev. Wright is now retired but he was my pastor for a number of years. I think the best way to explain my relationship to him is sort of like, as anyone can relate, having an older family member who says things that I don't agree with sometimes. Who has a different world view and perspective than mine. And you know...sometimes you kind of stay quiet to keep the peace, but sometimes you'll try to convert them over to your side, and usually you just end up having the same argument over and over again. Rev Wright is someone who has created a church community that is really beloved. Trinity has members of all races, is one of the most progressive and activist churches in Chicago, and I am very proud to be a member of the congregation. Rev. Wright is not our pastor anymore and he very clearly doesn't represent the tone or views of my campaign. For me, he has always been a religious figure and our views of the world are very different."

Giving the context that Trinity is a beloved church that has an incredibly positive role in the community while distancing themselves from Rev Wright. That is more or less the strategy that I think Obama should take. As to why Trinity is a really great church, here is Jane Fissler-Hoffman talking about why she and her husband are members.

That is pretty much my response to this attack. I think it's important to respond forcefully, and I think we are actually lucky that it's out now and not later. Post whatever actions you think Obama should take and use this thread to brainstorm.

Originally posted to jenontheshore on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:11 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips! (17+ / 0-)

    For responding forcefully with the truth.

    Pennsylvania=Iowa. It won't even be close!

    by jenontheshore on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:12:33 AM PDT

    •  I pretty much agree (6+ / 0-)

      He's pretty much said what you asked him to say in the past.  I'd like for him to make a major address about his relationship with Rev. Wright and contextualize Wrights' comments.  Remove him from the advisory committee - and also say what Rev. Wright has said that is inspiring.  That he can renounce & reject some of his comments but that he could never renounce or reject the man.

      And then say how ironic it is that the same people who demand that the black community fix itself then have no problem demonizing those who are trying to do exactly that, in 99% positive ways.

      "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is." --Dan Quayle

      by jakester on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:25:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It drives me crazy (5+ / 0-)

    how anyone trying to point out a potential problem is pilloried as a concern troll.  That's the community effectively putting its hands over its ears and yelling "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!!"

    The reason I fear this could be a big problem is that it plays into a pre-existing narrative about Obama, namely that he is not patriotic.  After all the half-baked bullshit that has flown his way (and which I don't need to repeat here) to Obama's enemies this is like a hanging curveball over the plate.  The narrative is already there, all you need to do is add this log to the fire.

    I think Obama's response is fine, but is it  adequate?  When the Wurlitzer really kicks into high gear, will it be heard above all the noise?

    Such are the problems faced by the first serious black contender for the Democratic nomination - every form of guilt-by-association is being hurled his way - Farrakhan, anti-Semitism, black nationalism, and now we're getting a glimpse of how patriotism is viewed by many in the black community.  I don't really blame them and I don't really care, but will it fly in November?

  •  It's just a cynical weapon of mass destraction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo

    Crap like this doesn't help the 63,000 Americans who lost their job last month. The thousands of families who lost their homes. The hundreds of thousands of families who have kids in Iraq as violence spikes again. The skyrocketing Diesel prices, etc.

    http://healthybagofpolitics.blogspot...

    •  Sadly, such weapons have worked quite well (0+ / 0-)

      in the past 7 years.  4000 soldiers and God knows how many Iraqis are dead b/c people were made to fear that a tinpot tyrant on the other side of the world might somehow attack the planet's most powerful country w/ flying drones.

      20 years ago, a black convict who was released as part of a MA furlough program fatally undermined the Dukakis campaign.  While a black pastor who made incendiary comments shouldn't fatally undermine the Obama campaign now, Dukakis shouldn't have been fatally undermined then.  Hopefully, Axelrod/Plouffe will handle this problem better than Dukakais's people did.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 12:25:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this dairy (4+ / 0-)

    I posted one on MyDD last night...and am going to post a crash course on Black Theology tonight here on Kos

  •  I think the preferred methods of dealing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ogre

    with someone like Wright are stoning or crucifixion.  At least that's what they did to prophets in the olden days.

  •  Obama already began distancing himself (0+ / 0-)

    and the campaign from Wright's personal views last year, actually.

    So, he can continue in that vein, as needed.

    See here and here for examples.

    Odd coincidence that Politico, of all rags, is suddenly pushing this the after KO's smashing plea to Clinton that she somehow actively place all the racial muck of her campaign behind her.  I mean, this couldn't be a "fair and balanced" outrage against Obama, could it? :)

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:26:34 AM PDT

  •  simply, it should be this. (5+ / 0-)

    The statement you have above isn't strong enough. It should be:

    "I will NOT stand for statements like that. I have zero tolerance for hateful and hurtful comments like that. I do not accept those statements, and forcefully reject those false statements. I sincerely hope McCain will join me in rejecting the bigoted comments of his supporter, Pastor Hagee, as well for talking about religious genocide on Jewish people and Catholic people."

    Always tie it back to Hagee.

    What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

    by slinkerwink on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:27:04 AM PDT

    •  That response is problematic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jeff in nyc, jenontheshore

      given the length of the relationship.

      I think what Obama has said and the diarist suggest are better.  

      •  Obama can say he wasn't aware about this comment (0+ / 0-)

        What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

        by slinkerwink on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:49:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are too many comments (0+ / 0-)

          Obama needs to be honest. He obviously has a long relationship with Wright, but its equally obvious that Obama's worldview could hardly be more different than Wright's in many respects. Where Wright preaches anger, Obama speaks of hope. Where Wright is decisive, Obama seeks unity. Where Wright injects race at every possible opportunity, Obama strives to a politics with more focus on character and leadership than melanin.

          Wright calls into question a lot of what Obama stands for. That's why he needs to be repudiated, strongly, now.

          jaiapprovedthis - what I lack in classiness I make up for in being right.

          by Jaiwithani on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 04:10:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  WHAT ? (4+ / 0-)

    This guy is retired and they are pulling crap from the past? Okay, now I am really not all that worried. We can tackle this one.

    HOWEVER !!!!!! ( concern is duly noted )

    I think it needs to be made clear to the people who think those of us who are saying , "it's no big deal" that what we really mean is,

    "We can take that on. That's not something that's going to derail us"

    Okay ?

    That's very different than hiding our heads in the sand. We just are not about to start peeing our pants and chewing our finger nails because someine just now heard of Rev. Wrong and sounds an alarm. Cooler heads prevail. Not the panic stricken.

    We can't get all up in a tissy and flood the Daily Kos website with the same damn thing and be all nervous about it all day long. This thing is not new. It's old. We will deal with it just like we dealt with every other "OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG This Is HORRIBLE. We Need To Act NOW" diary that's come up in the past.

    "but what I know is they come in waves, and they somehow appear magically wherever the next primary or caucus is" Barack Obama on Smear E-Mails

    by WeBetterWinThisTime on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:27:58 AM PDT

    •  I agree. We can tie this back to McCain's support (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      futurebird

      of Hagee.

      What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

      by slinkerwink on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:29:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  no, this sermon (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, jenontheshore

      was just a few months ago and referenced the campaign, Hillary and Obama repeatedly.  The fact that Wright has retired as pastor of the church is irrelevant since he currently has an advisory position on Obama's campaign.
      Obama needs to get on top of this immediately.  It's not some little nothing.  
      I'm off to PA in 2 weeks to register people so that there are more registered Dems voting for Obama.  I would like a clearcut way of answering questions about Wright.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:52:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the problem is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakester, futurebird

    that this is really really old news.  And everytime we push it, we push a right wing talking point.  When Newsmax is first out with the freaking story, it's a bad idea to continue to repeat it, unless of course your desire is to get it reported more frequently in the mass media.

    Wright is a paster, he doesn't speak for Obama anymore than a priest speaks for his parishoners (I'm not Chrsitian, did I spell that right?).  When a preacher makes ridiculous, uninformed and offensive comments from his pulpit, it's his right.  He speaks for no one other than his church at that time.  

    I'd suggest you take a read of Monroe Anderson.  He's got a very interesting take on the subject.

    •  Just one point... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bendygirl, paintitblue

      Trinity UCC is, well, UCC, so the pastor does not necessarily speak for the church as much as he (or she as the case may be) speaks to it.

      I do, though, wish that the United Church of Christ would use this stuff for a crash course introducing people to the UCC and its more-or-less bottom up polity.

  •  It's a wonderful response. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paintitblue

    I don't watch MSM anymore, really.  It sounds like they've decided to go Gore2000 on Obama.  It really is starting to feel like that.  Everyone I talk to, even people who prefer Obama for the nomination, see this primary as Obama and Clinton trashing each other, getting personal with one another.  No one seems to perceive how unbelievably one-sided the aggression has been, the position that Obama is put into in having to respond to constant, relentless attacks like this.

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